I’m just going to come right out and say it, Clevedon Pier. I love you.
I’ve been meaning to tell you, in writing, for quite some time now, so sorry I haven’t done it sooner. Today though, I’ve been sitting under a Somerset sky of the brightest blue, thinking about you and the memories we’ve made together and to be honest, you’re one of my absolute favourite spots in the county, come shine...
...come the depths of Winter’s coldest embrace...
...or the gentle breeze of a sun-filled Spring!
Why? Well, to steal from that sonnet, “let me count (just some of) the ways”!
You’re one of a kind, of course.
A Grade 1 listed Victorian gem, “The most beautiful pier in England” according to the late Sir John Betjeman, and you’re definitely a beacon in your home town... an iconic bridge to the sea for those of us lucky enough to tread your boards to the end, and take in a deep breath of salty air along with those dramatic Channel views.
Whatever the ever-changing weather, calm always washes over me when I'm with you... with the echoes of my very first steps and the accompanying soundtrack of the waves. It’s the ebb and flow of a feeling I’ll always treasure.
You never ever give up.
Collapsing in 1970, you were saved from demolition by tenacious local groups and incredible fundraising and donations... people rallying round to restore you. Their love and determination secured your survival, and your tribute to your rescuers was that glorious day in May (23rd, 1998) - your official reopening.
It just goes to show, you can't keep a good pier down!
You’ve got great legs! ;)
And everyone admires them! I mean, just how many incredible photos of you are there out in the world? Here are just a few, from brilliant local photographers Rich Wiltshire, Zoe Cox and Jon Rees, who capture you on camera far better than I ever could.
You definitely know how to party!
Let’s just say your 150 year anniversary celebration was one helluva night! ;)
We danced in the rain till the storm got the better of all of us and despite the downpour, everyone left with smiles on their faces, just as big as ours!
You’re an animal lover like me, and you've got your own Pier Beer!
Hang on a minute... how can you not fall in love with a Pier with its own beer? ;)
And, you love having dogs over for a stroll. You had me at 'Dog of the Day' - the photos you publish on Instagram of gorgeous pooches like Billy, here!
Yes, you welcome everyone with open arms... and you sure know how to tell a story.
Your Pier Plaques share the names and thoughts of thousands of people who love you just as much as I do. Personal memories, snapshots of sunny days and carefully constructed words of dedication, make everlasting markers of meaning.
I love the heartfelt nature of them, stopping for a moment as I walk, to discover more about a family whose love "flows strong and deep, leaving us memories to treasure and keep" and more about a man named Frank, who enjoyed 69 years living by the sea.
One day our names will be with you too, when we find the right words and moment in time.
You’re a fabulous friend to watch the sunset with.
Many times Graeme and I have strolled to your pagoda, climbed the stairs, grabbed a glass of Prosecco and slid into our favourite corner seat to watch the sky turn a blaze of orange, reflected in the waters below. Magical, colourful, beautiful, breathtaking... a chance to bask in the afterglow.
When it comes to sunsets though, nothing says it better than my favourite Pier Plaque.
I think I would’ve loved Edna and Bert almost as much as I love you, you know!
So, Clevedon Pier, all that’s left to say is this. Thanks so much for helping to make so many special memories for so many people. Like a lot of us, including your incredible volunteers, I fell for you years ago and I’m so glad I’ve finally told you why!
Congratulations on winning Pier of the Year for the third time and see you again soon, you beauty! :) x